In a signal that Frank McCourt’s lawyers are planning on playing hardball during bankruptcy proceedings, they’re asking Major League Baseball to hand over a raft of documents about how Commissioner Bud Selig has treated other teams during troubled financial times — information MLB lawyers will surely fight to keep private.
McCourt’s attorneys are obviously attempting to establish that Selig treated the Los Angeles Dodgers differently than other MLB teams, judging by their document requests today, presented to bankruptcy court and reported by the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shanklin:
- Documents pertaining to how MLB treated the recent financial struggles encountered by the New York Mets, including anything related to Bernie Madoff and information as to why a financial monitor was not appointed by baseball.
- An explanation as why the Fox broadcast deal was struck down, a deal that would have given McCourt an advance on rights payments; his attorneys also seek information on every other MLB local TV deal.
- Information about how MLB treated the death of a fan at Angel Stadium in 2009 and why the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were treated differently than the Dodgers were treated this season when San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. Selig sent investigators out to check things at Dodger Stadium; he did not do so in 2009.
- Any communications between Selig or an MLB rep and Jamie McCourt.
It’s pretty customary for attorneys to ask for everything under the sun during discovery, only to be met with arguments for limited access from opposing counsel. Whether this is a fishing expedition remains to be seen, but it’s clear that the argument will be that Selig treated the Dodgers differently than other teams and is seeking to take control of the team, perhaps in association with Jamie McCourt.
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